There is nothing I want more as a parent than for my children to receive the best education. But when I had to find a school for my twins, Princeton and Brazil, I knew that many of the schools here in New York City wouldn’t be able to provide that. So I looked for a charter school. I was drawn to charters because I had heard they were the best of public education—and that they took the time to work with kids and help them become the best they can be. Then I found Bronx Community Charter School. This school has been amazing for my children. I know they are getting a great education every day, and it is such a different experience than I believe they would get at a district school. At Bronx Community they work hard to bring us together and be inclusive. They stress the idea of family, community and working together to make sure that children and parents benefit from what the school has to offer. What I love about Bronx Community is its progressive way of introducing education to children. The teachers really understand that not all children learn the same way. This school exposes the children to a wide range of activities, projects, people and environments—all of this opens their minds to all of the endless possibilities the world has in store.
Kids who go there believe they can be whatever they want to be. Over the years we’ve seen that too many children in poor areas receive a poor education. There is a huge gap in education between rich communities and poor communities—and it’s only getting worse. Charter schools have stepped in to help solve this issue. I see the things Bronx Community and other charter schools are doing, and it is phenomenal. These schools have opened in areas of the city where the schools and communities are really struggling and often people had no hope for anything better. Some of the students in these neighborhoods don't have food when they go home. They don’t have clean clothes or a bed to sleep in. Many charters in underserved communities have taken a huge step toward changing these social injustices. They are giving these children excellent educations and safe places to learn. I get excited when I think of my twins and their futures. While I’d love to say it’s just because they have great parents that are going to guide them in the right direction, that wouldn't be the entire truth. Having a solid education is one of the most important parts of a child’s life. Some people want to put a label on the school just because it has “charter” in its name, but in New York City this is the word that parents are looking for to try and ensure that their kids can have a fighting chance to be successful in life. I am grateful for this opportunity my children have. I love that they have such a great school that will help them reach their full potential. As a parent, this peace of mind I have knowing my children will have a great future is an invaluable gift.
An original version of this post appeared on Northeast Charter Schools Netowrk's blog, Extra Credit.
Photo courtesy of Alina Dowe.
Alina Dowe is the mother of twins who attend Bronx Community Charter School.